Fasting strengthens communities
By Irshad Osman (Naleemi)
(August 21, 2011) – Ramadan creates “winning moments” for the believers.
Every single act in this beautiful month is a victory…it is a step in the journey towards success in both worlds. It could be those early hours when we wake up for a meal, it could be those difficult hours under the scorching sun in the summer, it could be those joyous hours approaching the breakfast, it could be those late hours when we offer the evening prayers…every single minute of Ramadan is a winning moment for the fasting soul.
The joy and the tears…the hunger and the thirst….the struggle and the calmness….. the determination and the will power….. the sincerity and the sacrifice…..everything we experience has a meaning and value, rewarding us in multitude of ways.
Because of these great moments in its fold, Ramadan is mostly seen as a month for individual, spiritual fulfillment.
It is seen as a “rainfall of mercy” which pours down upon us to purify ourselves from our sins and reward us abundantly.
Then what about Ramadan’s communal vision?
What is Ramadan’s objective for the Muslim community as a whole?
What does it aspire to “build” by visiting us every year?
The communal objective of present day Ramadan is no different than how our early generation of role models perceived it. Ramadan is not just a time to rejoice upon its arrival, dismay upon its departure, lose the rewards eventually, regress to the previous state, and wait for another one year for its return.
Instead, Ramadan should be viewed with this broader outlook of community building and welcomed wholeheartedly for what it aspires to establish within us.
Now the question is how can Ramadan strengthen our community? How will it develop leaders who stand up for the truth amidst the challenges of their time?
Ramadan plays its role in distinct ways: By picking out the best, making them unique and moulding them in the best possible manner.
As in every community, the Muslim community is not devoid of superficial practitioners who do not shoulder Islam’s responsibility on earth.
Under normal circumstances, their blemishes will not appear and could not be identified. But when faced with real challenge, their true self will surface.
Fasting demands mental and physical stamina.
It calls for sincerity and true love for Allah. It is not just about hunger, thirst and avoiding sex.
It is about protecting our limbs, senses, and feelings.
It is about walking that extra few thousand miles.
It is about freeing ourselves from servitude to carnal desires.
For the All-knowledgeable Lord knows whoever perseveres in Ramadan will persevere in any adversity.
He knows that whoever is steadfast in Ramadan will be prepared to face many more “Badrs” (trials, struggles, challenges and battles) in his life.
Ramadan brings out the best in humans.
It nurtures and enhances the best of characteristics that are necessary to be part of the courageous Muslim community.
But insincere souls will soon grow weary of this month-long challenge and will withdraw.
For them, it will be just a cultural practice.